August 20, 2007

Gratuitous Llama Vacation Wrap-Up

I'm BAAAaaaaaack!!

Lovely, lovely time in Maine and a much needed recharging of the ol' Llama batteries. We didn't spend a great deal of time "doing" things, because that's not the kind of place our little corner is. Instead, I always take the "be still and enjoy ME" approach. (Get it? Ha, ha.) It is enough most days simply to sit out on the porch, staring at the bay and sipping a nice cuppa or adult beverage, depending on the time of day.

Which isn't to say that we didn't do anything. Why, we went all the way out to Popham Beach one day and on another, drove over to Cundy's Harbor just to have lobstah rolls for lunch! And, of course, there was the usual constitutional hike around the island, being pulled along by Mom's hyperactive fox terrier, known as the Dog Of Very Little Brain.

I should also note that the BSAEM philosophy is not one which jibes well with the Missus' personality: the only time she is still is when she's asleep. Thus, she took it upon herself to keep the Llama-ettes amused - taking them to the Childrens' Museum in Portland one day and arranging (believe it or not) a candy-making session with the woman who owns the little candy shop up the hill from us on another. She also spent a goodish bit of time bustling about Yarmouth, Freeport and other locales, shopping and the like. All in all, the arrangement worked out pretty well.

I worry that it may not be all that easy to kick back and relax up there for very much longer. In the words of one of our neighbors, the area has been "discovered" by Boston. And while Bostonians as a rule are not nearly as obnoxious as Manhattanites, I'm afraid the place is slowly being Hamptonized. For one thing, the drive up I-95 across New Hampshire now often seems as bad as it is on the L.I.E. For another, there are some new McMansions-By-The-Sea going up, hideously at odds with everything around them. Their owners may desire to send the message "Me Got Money," but all they really manage to convey is "Sophisticated? Gawd!" My family has only been visiting the area for ten years or so, so we're still very much "from away". However, we've worked hard to blend in and adopt the local sensibilities, so I feel quite justified in taking the nativist position against those bent on altering things.

Oh, and then there are the jet-skies. We hates jet-skies - like much of modern culture, they're fast, loud and pointless. And they seem to have arrived. T'other day, Mom and I were sitting on the deck watching a pair of them zip around the bay. I started musing dreamily about sniper rifles and high-powered scopes, and we got into a detailed discussion about whether or not, using a silencer and judging the timing right, we couldn't make the shot look like it came from the opposite shore. Not that the local authorities would necessarily look all that closely....

Anyhoo, basta! Enough! Overall, we had a very good time. And I even took a few photos. Like to see 'em?

Oh, good!

Well. First we have the view from our house (I couldn't quite line up the pics to do a composite panorama):


That's the bay, of course, looking more or less due east. You haven't seen a full moon rise until you do so there.

Here we have two views of the little cove down below the house, taken left and right from the same perch in the middle:


I believe it is actually called Sea Cove, but the Llama-ettes call it Poison Ivy Cove for the reason that you touch any of the greenery at the top and back of the rocks at your peril. We had great success telling them off to go play here on their own this year - no broken bones, no drownings and no rebellion in the ranks against the nine year old's authority. Instead, they kept up a perpetual game of beach cook-out, and every time I wandered down to check up on them, I was invited to partake of such delicacies as "seaweed quesadillas". Yum.

Our particular island is the middle of three sticking out into the bay. The most seaward of the three has some truly nifty vistas, with the long Atlantic waves duly crashing against the rocks in approved romantic form. Here are a couple pics, taken the afternoon we introduced the Llama-ettes to them:

This is known locally as the Giant's Stair, although this photo does not do it much credit:


Here, the five year old and I reached a temporary and uneasy compromise about how close to the edge she was going to be allowed to go:


This one is known, I believe, as Pinnacle Rock. The Llama-ettes are not enjoying the romantic vista so much as watching the eider ducks, wondering if any of them will get caught in the surf and smashed on the rocks:


Finally, there is Popham Beach State Park, a nifty little spot about an hour away:


I didn't take this pic, obviously, but it gives you an idea. That little bulge of land out on the left is know as Fox Island. At high tide, the tongue of land leading out to it is completely covered and if you happen to be on Fox, you're stuck until the tide drops again. We always seem to arrive as the tide is rising, so have never made it out to the rock. Some year, I'll actually time things so we can climb it.

The Beach itself is very pleasant and the people quite polite - no boom-boxes, no cars, no obnoxious, louty behavior. The only drawback to the place is the fact that the water can't be much above sixty degrees, even at the height of summer. Much too cold for ol' Robbo, but it didn't seem to deter the Llama-ettes, who splashed and boogie-borded in the surf as comfortably as if they had been in the Bahamas, reappearing only now and again to help Dad with his extremely stylized mock-up of the Crac des Chevaliers:


Good times. Good times.

Posted by Robert at August 20, 2007 03:16 PM | TrackBack

Welcome back and I am glad to hear a good time was had by all!

Posted by: rp at August 20, 2007 04:21 PM

Lovely write-up, thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Nasty, Brutish and Short at August 20, 2007 05:16 PM

Robbo, I'll be back but you were tripping right over us. Yes that is Pinnacle Rock (did you sit in the chair?) and the cottage in the distance was a relative's of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. And Carl Jung ran around naked just around the corner....

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 20, 2007 05:23 PM

And it looks like Mr. P and I did once rent your house for 2 weeks. Which you know what that means...

"It got wierd." - that evil doctor in Austin Powers

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 20, 2007 05:25 PM

Welcome back! I didn't know llamas were battery powered, but all the same I'm glad you're recharged. :)

Looks like you had a ball - and being able to split time between doing and sitting sounds sublime.

Posted by: beth at August 21, 2007 07:18 AM

Thankee, all. Mrs. P., as Keanu Reeves would say, "Whoa." I thought of you as we tramped up Washington Street on our way back from the Stairs.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 21, 2007 08:21 AM

Robbo, when you and I first discussed the possibility of your house being the house we rented, I was honestly to say, "is there a little blue grey cottage off to the right of it?" (There was also another much smaller brick red one too in the vicinity) Now when I was a summer girl (translation : teenager) that blue grey cottage was owned by a man of the cloth. Is it still? One of his daughters made a small fortune by mowing lawns all summer long. She had long blonde hair and a little Volkswagon Rabbit and she drove all over both islands mowing each day. Her younger sister was very popular with the island boys... I contemplated driving over to that house and knocking on the door and asking if this was the residence of Robbo the llama butcher but then I decided what happens on the blog should stay on the blog.

Washington Avenue? Robbo, as you drove down Washington Aveune, right past the old yellow frame house (Coffin family) you would have come very quickly to a fork in the road made out of rose hips and behind that a very old frame house that was in the process of receiving new clapboards in June. That is old Captain Sinnett's house. That is the house my late grandfather's maiden aunts knocked on the door of the day they visited the island in 1911. They had been told after making inquiries at the dock and general store that he was selling off parcels of his apple orchard. Captain Sinnett walked them down through his apple orchard and out to the ocean with one of those y shaped sticks. They walked about until the stick pointed towards the ground. When it did, Captain Sinnett said, "Here's your well. I'll sell you this piece of land." It was something as ridiculous as a couple of hundred of dollars. If you had walked down Barker Point road, Maiden lane would have come up very quickly on your left and then you would have gone around a very small bend and down towards the water's edge. There you would have seen the remains of the orchard with 2 of the apple trees still left on the right. That's where I grew up playing as that where our homes are. That little Episcopal Chapel was where we went to services every Sunday. Our dogs would howl through all the hymns because my grandmother always sang off key and she was the loudest singer. She took the entire congregation off key with her and our dogs were bright enough to figure this out. We used to be laughing in the hymns....

I read Mr. P all the things you did during your time there. He looked at me and said "How would we have ever met him"? I said, "Well, technically, I think he would have just ran right past us..."

Mr. P and I really do nothing when we're there. I think you accomplished more in one week than I have in all my summers there. We sit on the porch and watch the waves go by.

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 21, 2007 08:47 AM

Ah, the "Grey" as we call it. It's no longer owned by a man of the cloth, but by a retired military fellah, who knocked down the slightly larger cottage just to the right of it and built a new "modern" residence slightly up the hill. Rumor has it that he employed one of the shiftiest contractors in the area, who has since gone bankrupt and had his licenses revoked, so we expect the place to slide into the sea every time a nor'easter strikes.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 21, 2007 09:03 AM

Do you still have that very preety low stone wall? It was that wall in the photo sent to us by Your Island Connection that made me take your place. Also I had spent so little time on your island I wanted to explore it. The walk at low tide around to Will's Gut and the bridge is marvelous.

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 21, 2007 09:10 AM

Robbo, you're probably saying what a small world but let's make it even smaller...

That cottage in the background of the photo that I said was the one related by either marriage or friendship to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain has a doyenne in residence these days. That doyenne went to Wellesley in the '40's. She was there with Mr. P's old latin teacher. Now that's a small world isn't it? Wait it gets even smaller...

The doyenne had two roommates at Wellesley. One lives here. Very unknowingly, she and I became friends and the connection was then discovered. She and all of her children have stayed several times in that cottage since the '60's. More than that this roommate has a sister. The sister lives one block up from us here (or did until recently). This sister lives diagonally across the street of one of Patum Peperium's readers' mother-in-law. That reader lives about 800 miles away from us...

The other roommate at Wellesley had a family home in Penboscot Bay. Before we lived here, a relative of mine purchased that home out of an ad placed in DownEast. Sometime before the house was sold to my relative, a boat that had been owned by that roommate's father that had always been anchored there, was sold to a fella up in Northeast Harbor who turned it into a boat tourists could go out on, for a fee, along the Somes Sound. Mr. P and I for years and years rented a home on a point of land on Somes Sound. That boat would sail past us almost daily as we laid out on the hammock or sat on the porch reading.

These are the sorts of connections your descendents have to look forward too...

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 21, 2007 10:09 AM

Welcome back, Robbo. Glad a good time was had by all.

Excellent sandcastle, btw.

Posted by: Kathy at August 21, 2007 10:30 AM